Reverse Mentoring: What to Know When Guiding the Next Wave of Latinx Marketers

Senior leadership teams must be well-versed in cultural nuances to effectively understand and mentor Latinx colleagues

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By now, “mentor” has become a word that is used as much as “metaverse.” However, surprisingly, most people are not speaking about reverse mentoring.

Most of us have taken part in this type of mentoring on various levels. Reverse mentoring encourages employees to form mentorship relationships, regardless of seniority, so both parties can exchange skills, knowledge and understanding.

Since mentors at various stages of life can create tremendous opportunity and value, the goal of reverse mentoring for Latinx advertising professionals is to form an organic connection and grow a working relationship in the hopes of creating safer environments conducive to work. In return, being reverse mentored by Latinx professionals can lead to more compassionate, forward-thinking and diverse marketers.

Ultimately, successfully guiding the next wave of Latinx ad professionals through the workplace requires executive leadership teams to fully embrace the concept of reverse mentorship. It allows for healthier work relationships, credible work environments and greater professional pipelines for future Latinx leaders.

Mentor versus advocate

A fundamental pillar within marketing is to create safe spaces and meaningful relationships with audiences in order to build brand credibility and trust.

This rule of marketing can also be applied when mentoring Latinx marketers by being open-minded, asking, “Am I fully present at this moment? Am I truly listening, or am I projecting when engaging with them?” These core standards for mentors set the foundation to safer and healthier workspaces and professional relationships with Latinx professionals.

Eventually, over time, Latinx marketers need more than a mentor. They need an advocate, someone who is in the room making decisions and influencing the outcome when the mentee is not in the room.

For instance, a mentor is someone who works in the same organization or outside the organization, who provides valuable insight, guidance and motivation stemming from their own career path, setting goals, identifying and fostering connections with their own contacts. In contrast, an advocate is someone who works in the same organization and is present in rooms where the mentee is not normally included. It is someone who can help increase the mentee’s visibility, supports their ideas and projects, amplifies their expertise and credibility and, ultimately, helps the mentee move up in the company.

Furthermore, these standards will allow more leadership teams to value diverse perspectives on how to navigate tough conversations in the workplace such as addressing microaggressions, negotiating salaries and dealing with a layoff or a career pivot.

In the long run, establishing a space and relationship that is authentic will help the mentee understand what they need and what will impel them to achieve success.

As in marketing, ‘one size’ mentorship does not fit all

With over 62.1 million Latinx individuals in the United States, many institutions have lumped the community into one category. But it is imperative to understand that a one-size-fits-all mentoring approach will only hinder the relationship.

The Latinx community is not a monolith, but rather a community of diverse, authentic voices that mirrors a kaleidoscope. Like a kaleidoscope, the various perspectives that Latinx individuals hold are mirrors and pieces of their own life experiences that continue to produce change within their professional lives as they exchange diverse ideas and outlooks with their mentors.

For example, not every Latinx is a first-generation American or knows how to speak fluent Spanish. Aside from their day-to-day work, many Latinx professionals are also caregivers and support their families, and many are the first ones in their families to navigate the nuances of corporate America.

For these reasons, reverse mentoring Latinx ad professionals helps build connections and empathy and bridges conversations between different levels of management that lead to growth. A mentor who engages in reverse mentoring with a Latino is gaining much more than just perspective. They are gaining a live look inside the world of the Latinx experience.

Storytellers at heart

Once Latinx professionals are given the resources and tools needed to succeed, they will implement them immediately. It’s all part of the DNA—their upbringing and culture, willingness to adapt and be scrappy, forging ahead with humility and, most importantly, their ability to enable grit and perseverance. Mentors need to know that the time they are investing is currency and that the company will see the ROI through promotions, deals and paying it forward.

When Latinx mentees are discussing their short-term and long-term goals, know that they are telling mentors a story that goes beyond their own ambition and inclination to propel their community. At the same time, with reverse mentoring, you are gaining someone who will help you achieve your goals. From strategizing the launch of a new product to challenging to learn about new topics, Latinx marketing professionals will be more than willing to support and provide their perspectives.

Given their diverse experiences, Latinx marketers are storytellers at heart and their passion for the work they do trumps what they are going through. Understanding how their culture and life experiences impact and benefit marketing projects, there is value beyond mentoring. When you’re investing time in their future, they will level up.

This article is part of a special Voice series, Let’s Get Loud, where industry professionals share their experience, expertise and advice on what brands need to know to form long-lasting relationships with the Latinx consumer.